What Fresh Hell Is This?

August 31, 2013

Ten Commandments Update

I am not sure who's more confused, me or The Rev. Ewing Marietta.

Well, that's a bit facetious on my part I must admit. Perhaps neither of us are confused.  Perhaps each of us is only a teensy bit confused but confused about different things.  Who know?  Whatever the case, it sure looks to me like the good pastor is missing the point about why the Ten Commandment monument at the Connellsville Jr High is so offensive.

Or maybe he gets the point and is just looking to save face, as it were.

Let's go to the news coverage at the Trib:
The Thou Shall Not Move group plans to erect four new Ten Commandments monuments at upcoming dedication ceremonies while the Connellsville School District and the Freedom From Religion Foundation continue to wage a legal battle over a monument that has been located on school property for more than a half century.

The Rev. Ewing Marietta, pastor of Liberty Baptist Church and an organizer of Thou Shall Not Move, said the dedication events will take place at 12:45 p.m. Sept. 8 at 301 S. Pittsburgh St., Connellsville; 5 p.m. Sept. 15 at the corner of North Arch and Water streets near the Amtrak train station; 1 p.m. Sept. 29 near a bus stop in Dunbar; and 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at 105 Hoke St., Bullskin Township.
Looks like they're erecting some new monuments in the area but it also looks like these erections are on private property.
“We have requests from 52 different places that want Ten Commandments monuments placed on their property,” he said. “We're going down the list and starting with the places that requested the monuments first.”

Marietta said the monuments have already been placed outside the Connellsville Eagles Club on Arch Street, on the grounds of St. Paul's AME Church on Morgantown Street in Uniontown and at the Juniata United Methodist Church in Dunbar.
This, of course, is completely constitutional as each of these spaces is private property.

And I am not sure whether Marietta gets the irony of the Trib's last paragraph:
“Pennsylvania was founded by William Penn, a Quaker who was in prison in England three times because of his religion, and came to this country for religious freedom,” Marietta said. “People should be able to hold onto their religious morals and values without the threat of being thrown into jail. We don't want to force the Ten Commandments monuments on anyone, but we don't want them taken away from the public eye.”
Still don't see the irony here?  I'll give you a hint from pa.gov:
Many Englishmen accused the Friends of disloyalty to the Crown as well as to the Church of England. As a result, the British Parliament enacted a series of repressive religious measures known as the Clarendon Code. The strictures elevated Anglicanism to "established church" status and declared all other religious observances to be "non-conformist" and, hence, illegal.
So he was arrested for not conforming to an established church.  Isn't the establishment of a state church something barred by the 1st Amendment?  And isn't posting religious instructions on school property something that is just too close to establishing a state church to be constitutionally acceptable?

Why yes, yes it is.

And so is The Rev. Ewing Marietta as wrong about this historical metaphor as he is about the nature of the separation of church and state?

Hot patootie and bless my soul, he certainly is.


Nick Sloan said...

I think everyone involved makes way too big a deal about this whole thing. Nationalized religion in this country simply isn't going to start at a small town school. Liberals who present that as the case, or make comparisons to religious persecution of Quakers in England are guilty of trying to make mountains out of mole hills.

With that said, conservatives tout themselves as the freedom party, and freedom from nationalized religion IS a basic guarantee of our Bill of Rights. If I allow myself to empathize with the conservative case, I can understand the feeling of resentment at having a law meant to protect your right to worship used to remove a token of your beliefs from the place where your children are educated.

The part that defies logic is the assessment that the removal of the monument itself is an act of religious persecution. No one is telling people what they can't do in their own homes or private lives.

Zeus0209 said...

A few days ago I may have agreed with their behavior being logic defying. But I'm in the middle of a Hitchens book wherein he suggests that all monotheistic religions, at their very core, task themselves, however subtlety, with wiping out all other religions (or pretty much anything that isn't conforming). The whole "no other false gods before me" thing.

Last year our own state government adopted 2012 "year of the bible" in state law. Look up HR 535 and read it. It sends chills up my spine. Where's our bill of rights now? And why not year of the Quran? Or year of the Torah? The christian rights' double standard isn't so illogical from their perspective.

It's not too big a deal to be combative towards the remnants of the 50's McCarthyism. If we see the day when the words in god we trust removed from our currency and under god omitted from our pledge of allegiance, ill be amazed. Until then, they are the stuff that enable the slippery slope to endure.